Expat Living in Ireland - Interview with Jay

Published: 23 Aug at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Ireland
Jay Murphy is a 54 year old retiree from the USA who retired 3 years ago from the US government (both as a civilian and in the military) having worked as an IT manager for 30 years. Having spent many years living and working in overseas locations, living overseas in Europe was a pretty easy decision for him made that much easier after the recent US election. He has been married to his wife, Kathy, for just about 30 years and has no children except for a little dog named Rudy, who joined them on their move to Ireland. Jay's expat blog is called Moving to Ireland (see listing here)

Ring of Kerry
Ring of Kerry

Here's the interview with Jay...

Where are you originally from?
Chicago, Illinois, USA

In which country and city are you living now?
Dungarvan, Ireland

How long have you lived in Ireland and how long are you planning to stay?
We moved to Dungarvan in March of this year and plan to stay for at least 2 years to see how we like it.

Jay at home contemplating his next blog
Jay at home contemplating his next blog
Why did you move to Ireland and what do you do?
Our decision to move to Ireland was partially due to the last US election. Additionally, having previously lived and traveled in Europe for 6+ years, and being married to a dual national with Irish and American citizenship, Ireland seemed like a great opportunity to experience our cultural heritage first hand and travel more easily in Europe.

Did you bring family with you?
My wife and our little dog Rudy.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Living in Ireland has been a pretty easy transition for us. The biggest challenge has been integrating into the community. The Irish and American cultures are pretty similar and given there is no language barrier, it made for an easy transition to day to day living.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
The Irish are very welcoming and over time we are slowly integrating into the local community. We have joined local clubs in the area and volunteer where we can to help out, meet and socialize. We don't really socialize with other expats, mainly locals.

Rudy and Jay in Dunmore East
Rudy and Jay in Dunmore East
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Walking and biking on the newly opened Waterford Greenway is one of the local areas biggest attractions. There are however many scenic drives and towns in the area with a beautiful beach nearby as well. Traditional Irish music sessions are always going on in the local pubs and make for a nice evening out. Joining local clubs in the community provides a good outlet for the expat and is the best way to meet people. Reading the local paper and visiting the tourist office is a great resource for activities in the area.

What do you enjoy most about living in Ireland?
Life is at a much slower pace in Ireland than in America. People are very friendly and welcoming for the most part. The area we chose to live in is quite beautiful with both mountain and sea views and the weather, despite what we’d heard, has been really nice. Additionally, they recently opened up a very nice bike path between Dungarvan and Waterford City called the Greenway that goes along the ocean. We are fortunate enough to live in the town where there are many pubs, restaurants and stores within walking distance. Lastly, there seems to be festivals in the area most every weekend so there is always something to do. Mountains, beaches and plenty of walking trails make it an outdoors-man's paradise.

How does the cost of living in Ireland compare to home?
Eating and drinking out is a bit more expensive, especially with the exchange rate. Buying or renting a place is fairly reasonable with much cheaper taxes on property. Gas is definitely more expensive but most people, including ourselves, drive much smaller vehicles that get very good gas mileage. Overall, as long as the exchange rate doesn't get too much worse, it is cheaper living in Ireland than back home.

Dungarvan sunrise
Dungarvan sunrise
What negatives, if any, are there to living in Ireland?
The weather is probably the biggest negative to living in Ireland although it hasn't been too bad since we moved here.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Ireland, what would it be?
Before you decide where to live, figure out what you want most from a town or village. Research the area you'll be living on the internet, read any local papers you can find and look at realtor sites to get an idea on the cost of rentals in the area. Do not buy in an area without living there for awhile first. Lastly, read blogs from any expats in the country you're interested in.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Finding good friends and getting our drivers licenses.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
Shouldn't be an issue as I've lived overseas for extended periods before.

Jay on Waterford Greenway outside old railway tunnel
Jay on Waterford Greenway outside old railway tunnel
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Make sure you're financially able to make the move. Figure out in advance the best method for transferring money over to your new country before you get there.
  2. Make sure you have the necessary paperwork required to get an extended visa before you leave. Don't expect to find a job easily if you're not financially able to support yourself.
  3. Rent before you buy.
  4. Make sure your health insurance will cover you in your country of choice.
  5. It is difficult and expensive to get an Irish drivers license.
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
My expat blog, Am American refugee living in Ireland, is about our move to Ireland and the experiences and adventures we've had both in Ireland and through our travels in Europe. My hope is to help out others who may be contemplating the move and to also keep family and friends back home updated on our lives and perhaps to entertain people along the way.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Via blog comments or through twitter feed.

About the author

Expat Blog ListingJay is a expat living in Ireland. Blog description: An expat's experiences in Ireland
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